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Review: Hancock

Will Smith

Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman

Peter Berg

Vincent Ngo & Vince Gilligan


Sony Pictures

1hr 32mins


July 2


Will Smith is the man of the hour, and he certainly knows it. Not since Tom Cruise and the rise of the high-concept narrative has an actor so doggedly pursued mega stardom and Hollywood domination… and been so good at it to boot. The only problem with this explosive superhero actioner is that, unlike the equally calculated I Am Legend, it smacks a little too blatantly of Smith’s obsession with success – it’s not such a bad thing, but it does take the shine (and one star) off this otherwise rollickingly good ride of a movie.

His jigginess stars as half-assed and half-cut superhero Hancock, who begins the film in a drunken stupor, catching bad guys in spectacular pissed-up style whenever he can be bothered to regain enough control over his motor skills. Watching our hero booming arse over tit through the sky, denting high-rises and chinning pigeons as he goes, gives that pit of the stomach thrill that summer blockbusters are all about and is impossible to not get caught up in. Watching the day get saved might be fun, but it’s definitely more so when they guy responsible promises to “break his foot off in your ass” afterwards.

When Hancock crosses paths with savvy but wet PR guy Ray (Arrested Development’s Bateman), however, his public image is in for a major facelift. The two make an instantly enjoyable comedy pairing; Smith forgetting his usual smiley charm for some brilliantly wicked wise-cracking, to Bateman’s uber-nice straight man. The good intentioned Ray convinces his newest client to become a conventional, dry superhero while his wife Mary (a jaw-dropping Theron) looks on disapprovingly.

Bateman and Theron may shine, but this is undoubtedly Smith’s movie. Taking half the side-walk with him each time he takes off, and awakening car alarms each time he lands, Hancock radiates power like no other recent superhero. And the bottle of booze always clutched at his side – that classic Achilles’ heel – proves that this is no dumb spoof but a fresh and smart retooling of a genre that’s getting a bit too big for its boots.

by Kate Bryant

Read the reviews of the moment in
Film Review (Jul)

Photo © Columbia Pictures
Review © Visual Imagination 2008. Not for reproduction

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Film Review (Jul), see below for ordering options
Film Review (Jul)
#698, July 2008
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